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Business SPOTLIGHT: Carmen's Bar & Restaurant

Carmen's Dry Dock West opened in May 1997, originally a sister company to the Dry Dock on Midway Road, by Carmen Lindstrom-Zezulka and Michael Van. Their goal was to have a bar and restaurant with a home-feel vibe by offering quality comfort food with caring staff and committed ownership.

Throughout its history, Carmen's Bar & Restaurant has always been a family-owned and -operated business. In December 2020, Carmen's sons, Ryan Lindstrom and Zachary Zezulka, took over full ownership with aspirations of continuing their mother's legacy.

Both Cloquet High School alumni, Zach and Ryan started working at Carmen's shortly after high school, while also pursuing business degrees at UMD. Both ended their college careers early and learned the best way into the business world was through their mom.

Throughout the years, Ryan and Zach have continued adapting and learning the industry through many lessons along the way. They have strived to build on the business by starting to offer catering services off-site. They began planning for their most recent venture, a kitchen addition, in 2019, but that was halted by the pandemic. Construction finally started this summer, with hopes of being done at the end of September or early October.

Ryan and Zach are proud to be longtime Cloquet residents, and try to give back to the community as much as they can. They take pride in offering a quality product for a quality price. In today's world, they have tried their best to keep prices affordable and their wages competitive. You can be sure to stop in anytime during the week and see a familiar face among our longtime employees.

You might also find familiar names on the extensive menu, which makes a point of paying respect to customers and employees who made an impact on the restaurant. Behind the scenes, that great food starts with a quality product that is bought fresh weekly from Upper Lakes Foods and B&B Market, which have been a key part of Carmen's success over the years.

Even though you might not be greeted anymore by the famous "Carmen kiss and hug," you can still plan on having a great experience at


Ryan and Zach would like to give a big shout-out to all of their staff for being so committed and taking such pride in their work, and also to the community for allowing Carmen's to continue to serve them. Lastly, we would like to say we love you to our families for always being supportive and understanding.

The Business Spotlight is an advertorial product available in the Pine Knot News.

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